In December of last year, the artist Naiza Khan launched an exciting new collaboration with the fashion designer Sonya Battla, who featured the artist’s Manora watercolors on a limited edition line of silk prints. This was not the first time the two have worked together – the designer helped create a piece in the artist’s series of body armor lingerie some years ago. The collaborations between the fashion and art worlds – also seen in the presence of a number of designers in Amin Gulgee’s ‘Dreamscape’ exhibition – signal a new level of maturity in the Pakistani art world and a growing confidence in art and commercial crossovers. Increasing innovative, Pakistani artists are breaking old bounds as the influence of art spreads into the wider world of aesthetics and the public realm.
What to make of these and other new developments in the world of art is one of the reasons ArtNow is organizing, for the second time, an Art Section at the Karachi Literature Festival. The Karachi Literature Festival has expanded considerably since its inception in 2010 to become an institution and an event that is eagerly awaited every year.As it did last year, the Art Section features two full days of lively debate on significant issues in South Asian art history and emerging practices in the contemporary art of Pakistan. A series of conversations, readings, an exhibition and various other events will provide a venue for artists, writers and publishers to feature current projects and display their publications. Top Pakistani artists of international renown have been invited to discuss their works.
To discuss the blurring boundaries of fashion and art, Naiza Khan and Sonya Battla will be present. Amongst other timely and topical issues, the art talks at the KLF will discuss the growing art market, and the effects it has on the art being produced today with gallerist Sameera Raja and Ambereen Karamat, the founder of art advisory White Turban; the future of the nation in art, with the eminent artists Bani Abidi and Rashid Rana; Sherry Rehman will discuss art, culture and power, with RehanaSaigol and Waqar Malik. We will also pay homage to the artists who passed away last year, including Imran Mir and Shahid Sajjad.
The art section will also feature another type of conversation with the exhibition ‘Dialogues’, co-curated by Zarmeene Shah and Amin Gulgee. ‘Dialogues’ will be an exhibition of installations, text, new media and sculptural works by twenty-five artists created specifically for the Karachi Literature Festival. The internal dialogues created between the individual art works will connect to a larger discussion, centered around the topics of the talks program, which question the times we live in. The exhibition is intended to function as a conversation in anaesthetic language that will provoke a considered thought process.ArtNow is also instituting an award for Art Student of the Year, the recipient of which will be selected by a committee comprised of the heads of the Fine Arts Departments at Karachi University, Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, and Karachi School of Arts. An award of this nature will provide student artists with the encouragement and wider platform they deserve.
Feedback from attendees at last year’s Karachi and Islamabad Literature Festivals, for which ArtNow organized the first-ever Art Sections, was extremely positive, with many agreeing that the Art Sections were an exciting development, adding a new depth and dimension to these dynamic and energetic festivals. Extensive press coverage pointed to the high attendance in the art spaces. We hope that this year’s Art Section willwork towards advancing Pakistani art, promoting the spirit of creativity, and encouraging critical discourse, all of which are central to ArtNow’s mission.
We look forward to seeing all our readers at the Karachi Literature Festival.
Bye for Now.